The relationship between visual images and war is both significant and complex. Politicians are acutely aware of this ever since shocking images of the Vietnam War had devastating effects on domestic and international support for US foreign policy. But images can also play a key role in rallying people, or the international community in general, behind particular actions. The purpose of this paper is to engage some of the scholarly challenges associated with understanding these complex relationships between visuality and war. What methods do we use to read and interpret images and the often multiple messages they convey? How exactly do images, and the emotions they engender, shape individual viewers, groups and policy debates? How can we assess these influences in a way that provides us with reliable, perhaps even empirically measurable information? And how do we, in a more general sense, translate visual data into verbal expressions that can provide meaningful insight and form the base of scholarly discussions and policy deliberations.

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